20SB Blog Swap: Hope Roth

20 Dec

Today you are lucky enough to be graced with a guest post by the lovely Hope Roth!  We both decided to participate in the 20SB Blog Swap, and both (unbeknown to the other) wrote about fear.  Enjoy, and definitely go check out my post on her blog!

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It’s funny that Bria wrote about fear today, because that’s something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

I come by my anxiety naturally. There are several members of my family that, if you figured out a way to harness their nervous energy, could power a small city. I was born to be slightly twitchy. And twitchy I’ve been! From the year before college until just a few years ago, I had panic attacks on a semi-regular basis. Even now, I’m a little scared to say, “Wow, I can’t remember my last panic attack!” It just seems like an invitation for a freakout.

Don’t get cocky or the Universe will make you pay for your hubris.

Paranoia aside, it really has been a revelation to reach a point where I don’t get panic attacks at the thought that I might get a panic attack. Things that no longer terrify me:

  • Taking Nyquil
  • Going to the Dentist
  • Elevators in extremely tall buildings
  • Getting a head cold
  • Driving (see, it can happen!)

I’m not entirely out of the woods (I’d still rather take the bus than drive to NYC), but it’s an excellent start.

How did this happen? Well, part of it is that I learned my triggers and I worked hard to avoid them. Then I learned how to work through my triggers. Now, I can take Nyquil when I’m too sick to sleep and I can get behind the wheel of a car without breaking out in a cold sweat (not at the same time, though, that’s just madness). A good chunk of it was learning to eat better, getting regular sleep, and making sure I stay physically active. I can’t really have caffeine because first it makes me jittery and then it makes me over-tired. I can’t eat sugar on an empty stomach, because it makes me light-headed and jittery (as does too much sugar in general). I can’t let myself get too hungry.

Oh and breathing. Breathing is kindof important. Bonus points if it’s slow and steady and not fast and into a paper bag.

I guess what I’m saying, Bria, is that it does get better. At 23, I was just where you are. And now, 6 years later, I feel like I’m in control of my anxiety, instead of the other way around. I don’t think I’ll ever be totally free of the nervous crazies, but I think that I can keep my power output to a single lightbulb instead of an entire small city.

I’ve been struggling with the idea of turning 30. I guess you could say it makes me anxious (understatement!). It’s time to admit that I’m a real grownup, instead of someone just pretending to be one. My fiancé and I own a house, we adopted a dog and we’re getting married soon. But it wasn’t until I faced down the last year of my twenties that I really said to myself, “this getting older business is for real.” So, I upgraded my night cream and I tried not to think about it.

But, when it comes down to it, getting older doesn’t have to be so bad. Sure, I can’t drink like I did in my early twenties, but who needs the empty calories? And who needs to find themself, at the end of a rough night, clutching their sides and crying out their fear? People often say that they’d give anything to have their youth back. I’ll take the upcoming crows’ feet if it means I can have my sanity back.


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